Michael Scott Bjornson, age 52 of Grand Forks, ND, formerly of Saint Thomas, ND passed away on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 at his home in Grand Forks.
Michael Bjornson was born January 26, 1971 in Park River, ND, the son of the late Darrell and LuJune (Papenfuss) Bjornson. The family moved to Saint Thomas in 1975 where attended school, graduating from Saint Thomas High School in 1989. He went on to attend Northland Community and Technical College in East Grand Forks, MN. Following his education, he returned to Saint Thomas and worked with his dad at Saint Thomas Flying Service. He also worked for Heritage Ford, Swanson Motors. He was united in marriage to Wendy McDonald on May 1, 1999. He then worked as an over the road trucker for his dad and S & S Transport. Most recently he worked for American Crystal Sugar and Simplot after moving to Grand Forks in 2020.
He had a passion for racing and started racing Hobby Stocks in the early 1980’s. He moved to racing Late Models in 1988 which he continued racing until 2002. After he stopped competing, he still enjoyed attended races at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks. He also enjoyed camping, spending time with family and friends and playing with the family dogs.
Mike is survived by his children: Blake Bjornson, Grafton, ND, Natalie Bjornson, Grand Forks, ND and Jaxon Bjornson, Grafton, ND; brothers: Mathew Bjornson(Jennipher VanHorn), West Fargo, ND and Tim (Taryn) Bjornson, Grafton, ND; as well as several aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and 2 great nephews with one more on the way. He was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents.
A visitation will be held on Sunday, April 2, 2023 from 3-5 PM with a prayer service at 5:00 PM at the Tollefson Funeral Home of Grafton. Inurnment will be at the Saint Thomas City Cemetery in the spring.
Kerry Lynn Martinson, age 59, of Norfolk, VA, moved on to his forever home, Saturday March 25, 2023, at his residence from natural causes.
Kerry Lynn Martinson was born June 1, 1963 in Grafton, ND, the son of the late Martin and Violet Martinson. He lived with his family in St. Thomas, ND where he graduated from St. Thomas High School. Kerry was united in marriage to Jennifer Martinson on December 24, 2017 in Norfolk, VA. He loved hunting, fishing and spending time with family and friends. He was a kind, diligent, respectable, dedicated, generous, quiet, and strong man. He was a loving husband, brother, son, father, uncle and friend.
He is survived by his devoted wife, Jennifer Martinson, Norfolk, VA; four children: Shane (Misty) Wagner, Superior, WI; Chasidie (Dave) Ratliff, Wahpeton, ND; Philip Brown, Norfolk, VA; Justin Brown, Lisbon, ND; two sisters: Marilyn (Robert) Watkins, Minneapolis, MN; Faith Wheeler, Minneapolis, MN; two brothers: Allen (Myrna) Martinson, Grafton, ND; Dale (Sue) Martinson, Grafton, ND; Aunt, Connie (Bill) Mantor, Fridley, MN; Aunt, Wanda Thompson, Long Prairie, MN; and 16 nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Martin and Violet Martinson, his brother-in-law, Richard Wheeler; his nephew, Nathan Martinson and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Kerry will be having two services. Funeral services being held in Norfolk, Virginia will be Saturday, April 8, 2023 at 6:00 P.M. with a visitation at 5:00 P.M. at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, 8464 Tidewater Drive Norfolk, VA. Funeral services being held in Grafton, North Dakota will be held Saturday, April 15, 2023 at 10:30 A.M. at the Grafton Lutheran Church, 143 W 5th St, Grafton, ND 58237. Visitation will be for one hour prior to the service at the church on Saturday.
Marlowe J. Simon, age 62 of Park River, ND, passed away on Saturday, March 25, 2023 at the First Care Health Center of Park River.
Marlowe Simon was born November 22, 1960 in Park River, ND, the son of the late Orvaille and Alfreda (Mueller) Simon. He lived with his parents in their home until July, 1967 when he moved to the Grafton State School, now known as the Life Skills and Transition Center. He moved to a CHI Friendship group home in 1985 in Park River, where he was presently living.
He worked with Friendship job coaches at several area work places and the Friendship Day Program.
He enjoyed going to church with family and staff and was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Park River. He loved going for rides and stopping to pick up a pop, watching hockey and the Vikings football games. He also enjoyed wearing dress clothes and going to work and he liked to tease everyone.
Marlowe is survived by his siblings: Faye (George) Moen, Park River, ND; Cheryl (Tim) Daley, Park River, ND; Arlen Simon, Park River, ND; Lynette (Alleyn) Olsonoski, Apache Junction, AZ; Curtis (Candy) Simon, Park River, ND; sister-in-law, Marilyn Simon, Park River, ND. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister, Luetta Simon, brothers: Mervin, Keith, Gerald and Alan Simon and sister-in-law, Monica Simon.
Mass of Christian Burial will be Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at 10:30 A.M. at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Park River. Visitation will be for one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be at the Calvary Cemetery, Park River, in the spring.
Stanley Karel, 89, of Leroy, ND passed away Saturday, March 25, 2023, at his home. Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, March 31, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. St. Boniface Catholic Church in Walhalla, ND. Visitation will be held at the church on Friday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of services.
Edward Stanley Karel was born July 13, 1933, near Leroy, ND to Peter and Delia (LaSalle) Karell. He grew up in the Leroy area where he attended school. Stanley served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. After his discharge from the service, he returned to the Leroy area where he farmed. On July 27, 1959, Stanley married Rita Howell at Leroy. He really enjoyed Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and coffee.
Survivors include his daughter, Mary (Danny) Nordstrom, Walhalla, ND, grandchildren: Amanda Vela and her children, Lily, Dustin, Aaliyah, Jaxson, and Nova, Rose Sanchez and her children, Abdon, Alianna, and Alexis, Eddy Nordstrom (Brittany Brevik), Elizabeth (Troy) Bill, Stephanie Nordstrom (Bruce Richardson), and her children, Levi, McKenzie, and Charlee, Angela Nordstrom (David Christoffer) and her children, Aubrey, Annessa, and Aaliyah, brother-in-law, Mark Collins. Also surviving are his nieces and nephews: Verdelle Jacobson, Danny Dahlstrom, Doris Hoffarth, Duane, Jerry, David, and Judy Widme, Stacy McLaughlin, and Sandy Flaten.
Preceding him in death were his parents, wife, Rita, son, Peter, and siblings: Rex, Lawrence, Gene, Delma, and Margaret.
Maria “Marie” Antoinette Rutherford, 69, of Drayton passed away at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 after a battle with cancer.
Marie was born November 2, 1953 in Drayton, North Dakota, the daughter of Hector and Godeliva (Lannoo) Walleghem. She was raised on their family farm in Bowesmont, North Dakota. Marie attended Drayton High School and graduated in 1971. She married Nichol “Nick” Joseph Rutherford on July 6, 1974 and together they raised a family. Marie spent the past 25 years working at Hasting’s Landing restaurant, where she forged lifelong friendships with co-workers and patrons alike. Marie was a wonderful person who brightened the days of those around her. She will be sorely missed by her family, friends, and the whole community.
Marie is survived by her son, Bradley Rutherford; granddaughter, Olivia and honorary daughter, Tracy Emanuelson (Kasoprowicz); and granddaughters, Morgan Gentry and Paige Emanuelson; and her ex-husband, Nick. She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers.
Memorial services are scheduled for Saturday, April 1, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. in Skjeberg Lutheran Church, rural Drayton. Visitation will be held for one hour prior to the service. Burial in the Joliette Cemetery, will be held in the summer.
**Memorial Services for Bruce Phelps have been postponed until Monday, April 10, 20223 at 2:00 PM at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church of Park River. Visitation will be for one hour prior to the service at the church.**
Bruce A. Phelps, age 69 of Park River, ND, passed away on Friday, March 17, 2023 at the First Care Health Center of Park River.
Bruce Phelps was born October 9, 1953 in Grafton, ND, the son of the late Vernon and Lorrine (Torreson) Phelps. He grew up in Hoople and Park River, graduating from the Walsh County Agricultural School in Park River. Following his education he worked for a short time at American Crystal Sugar in Drayton, ND before starting at Walt’s Grocery Store in Grafton. He was united in marriage to Susan Moen on August 20, 1976 at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Park River, ND. The couple made their home in Park River and he continued working for Denny’s Jack and Jill and later worked for Leever’s and Jims Supervalu in Park River. He also worked part-time at the Park River School until retiring in October of 2019.
Bruce was a member of the Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church of Park River. He was an avid UND Football fan and had season tickets for several years. He enjoyed taking his children and grandchildren to UND football, hockey and basketball games whenever he could. He also enjoyed watching the Minnesota Vikings and Twins, coaching from his chair and explaining the games to his granddaughters. He was a very proud blood donor for many years and was a favorite for his O+ blood type. He also enjoyed going to the casino and watching Hallmark with his ladies. He was a cat lover, especially of Bella, Charlie and his grankitties Toby and Zoey.
He is survived by his wife Susan, Park River, ND; children: Chris (Ericka) Phelps, Lakeville, MN and Jen Phelps, Grand Forks, ND; grandchildren: Breeanna, Ryann, Brody and Britta; brother John (Carolyn) Phelps, Moorhead, MN; as well as many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and many great nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, mother and father-in-law George and Harriet Moen, and several aunts and uncles.
Memorial services will be Monday, April 10, 2023 at 2:00 PM at the Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church of Park River. Visitation will be for one hour prior to the service at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Altru Cancer Center, First Care Health Center or the Park River Food Pantry at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church. Inurnment will be at the Memorial Park Cemetery of Park River in the spring.
Frances Claire LaBerge Ensminger, 89 years old, was born on July 5, 1933 in Grafton, ND to Daniel and Emelia Lessard LaBerge and passed away on March 15, 2023 at Lutheran Sunset Home in Grafton. She made her home in Grafton graduating from Grafton High School where she was a saxophonist for the Grafton High School Marching Band. Her work career started at Grafton National Bank in 1951 while a high school student. She continued working at the bank which became Norwest, as an assistant vice president. She ended her career as Assistant to the Treasurer for Walsh County retiring in 1998. She was a member of the National Association of Bank Women and enjoyed curling, golf, bowling and time with her family and nieces and nephews. She was an avid reader.
Fran was preceded in death by her parents, sisters Georgette LaHaise and Suzanne Burns and brother Wallace, sisters-in-law Elizabeth LaBerge, Anita LaBerge, Millicent LaBerge and Colleen LaBerge and brothers-in- law George LaHaise and Gene Burns. She is survived by Richard, Sioux Falls, SD, Thomas, Staunton, VA, Donald, Shoreview, MN and 31 nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be at Tollefson Funeral Home on Thursday, March 23 from 5-7 pm and Rosary will be said at 7:00 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. John the Evangelist Church of Grafton on Friday, March 24 at 10:30 am. Interment will be at St. John’s Catholic Cemetery, Grafton.
Dennis Wayne Maxwell was born on May 15, 1940, in Concrete, ND, oldest of two sons born to James and Phyllis (Stevenson) Maxwell. Brother Jack was born five years later and was his best friend for over 60 years, along with many cousins he loved dearly. At age 14 his parents sent him to Cavalier, where he rented a room from a local widow and attended high school. He swept floors at a local pool hall and set pins in the bowling alley to earn money.
While working in Cavalier, he met his one and only true love, Alfrieda Stegman, “the blonde” waitress in the adjoining cafe where he would wash dishes to get a free meal. The story Frieda tells is that he swooned her by saying, “Bring me a Bubble Up and I will love you forever.” She did, and the two married on June 24, 1960, in Neche, ND. Together they had three children, Brenda, Robert, and Angela.
He worked for a local hardware store for five years, owned a grocery store for five years, and drove tanker semi-trucks hauling fuel for 33 years. He had a license to drive anything and could! He was very proud when his son followed suit and enjoyed the miles they drove (and talked) together, before retiring in November 2002.
Dennis was a skilled woodworker and carpenter. In addition to home renovations, he made birdhouse replications (to scale) of homes and churches, and at last count, over 100 wooden rocking horses that he gladly gave away to children of friends, family, neighbors, or anyone who would ask.
Dennis loved his community, those who served his country, a good Western cowboy show, cars, his family, and his Lord Jesus Christ. He passed away on March 16, 2023, in Cavalier. It is no coincidence that he died on 3:16 and would want you all to open your bibles and read John 3:16 today.
He is survived by his wife Frieda, children Brenda (Terry) Ault, Bob (Nancy) Maxwell, and Angie (Brad) Nordstrom. Grandchildren Derek (Wendy) Ault, Brandon (Kelli) Ault, Gavin (Megan) Ault, Andrew Maxwell, Sarah (Brian) Fish, Brandi Veer (Andrew Anderson), Jennifer Maxwell (Chance Hartz), Abigail Nordstrom, Levi Nordstrom, and great-grandchildren who were the apple of his eye: Derek, Avery, Reace, Maggie, Peyton, Leah, Remi, Owen, Sawyer, Jeffrey, Emery and Izabella. Preceding him in death are his parents, father- and mother-in-law, his brother, five brothers-in-law, and many more extended family that he held dear.
Funeral service will be held on Monday, March 20, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at Our Savior Lutheran Church, Cavalier, ND. Visitation will be held Sunday, March 19th from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 pm. with a 6:00 p.m. prayer service at the Askew Funeral Home, Cavalier, ND.
Melynie F. Wolfgram, 58, Grand Forks, ND formerly of Cavalier, ND passed away Tuesday, March 14, 2023 near St. Thomas, ND. Funeral service will be held Monday, March 20, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at the Askew Funeral Home, Cavalier ND with visitation starting at noon.
Melynie F. Elke was born November 17, 1964, at Cavalier, ND to Frederick and Marlys (Ganssle) Elke. She grew up and attended school in Cavalier. Melynie then attended Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, ND, and later worked at the Development Center in Grafton, ND.
She enjoyed spending time with her dog Marly. Melynie was a people person, enjoyed teasing in a caring way, and helping and caring for others.
Survivors include her parents, Marlys and Marvin Stark, Cavalier, ND, son, Tim Wolfgram, West Fargo, ND, grandchildren: Oakley, Finley, and Easton Wolfgram, brother, Curtis Elke, Boise, ID, nephew, Josh (Brittni) Elke and their children, Laney and Hudson, niece, Carlee (Nick) Elliott and their son Elijah.
Preceding her in death was her father, Fred Elke.
Cleophas W. “Cleo” Novak, age 87 of Pisek, ND passed away on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 at the Lutheran Sunset Home of Grafton.
Cleo was born September 25, 1935 in the family farmhouse near Pisek, ND, the son of the late John and Mary (Jelinek) Novak. He farmed and attended school near Pisek, graduation from Pisek High School in 1953. Following his education he continued farming with his dad. He was united in marriage to Doris Vasichek on September 29, 1959 at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in Lomice. The couple moved to the Novak family farm where they farmed and raised livestock until retiring in 1998. They continued to make their home on the farm until moving into the Lutheran Sunset Home in July of 2019.
He was a member of the St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church of Pisek and the Catholic Workman where he served as financial secretary for 20 years. He also served as supervisor of the Rushford Township Board for several years.
Cleo is survived by his wife Doris, Grafton, ND, children: Monty (Kari) Novak, Park River, ND, Tami (Dean) Mecham, Grafton, ND, Dann Novak, Elk River, MN, Doug (Tina) Novak, Blunt, SD, and Dave (Lori) Novak, Oakes, ND; 9 grandchildren; several great grandchildren; brother John (Ann) Novak, Bismarck, ND; several nieces and nephews; and his lifelong friend Dennis Lovcik, Pisek, ND. He was preceded in death by his parents; infant son; brothers: Mark, Bruno, Daniel and sister Mary Rita Swartz.
Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday, March 20, 2023 at 10:00 AM at the St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church of Pisek. Visitation will be Sunday from 3-5 PM with a prayer service at 5:00 PM at the church. Friends may also call at the church for one hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church or Cemetery of Pisek or the Pisek Fire Department. Interment will be at the St. John Nepomucene Catholic Cemetery of Pisek in the spring.
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